*This blog has been paid for by and created in partnership with Pfizer UK ©
Regular readers will know I suffer from Psoriatic Arthritis, which is a type of autoimmune disease. In short, my immune system is overworking and trying to repair healthy joints in the same way it would if they were damaged. This causes inflammation and pain often restricting movement in my joints and severely reducing my independence. Psoriatic arthritis isn’t curable and is something I will have for the rest of my life. It can be treated and maintained, which, for me, involves shutting down my immune system with the use of immunosuppressants. Although this medication significantly helps me, it also means I am vulnerable to other illnesses because my immune system is compromised.
Having a compromised immune system means that I often get sick – especially with two children bringing home coughs and sneezes! It also means that when I do get ill, the impact is much more significant on my body compared to someone of full health. Like last year, for example, my whole family felt under the weather with a cold and sore throat, but I felt completely wiped out. Everyone else seemed to bounce back after a day or two, but I was still suffering after a week. It turns out I had a nasty throat infection, but luckily my GP was able to prescribe some antibiotics, and I was back on my feet in no time.
Antibiotics are a wonderful invention – when used under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, they don’t cure everything and taking them incorrectly not only won’t help you get better, but it could contribute towards Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). AMR is when the bacteria that causes infections become resistant to antibiotics that would have previously killed them. This creates a ‘Superbug.’ Of course, this process happens naturally, but it is being accelerated because antibiotics are being misused. The effects of this could be devastating for people like me who have compromised immune systems. It could even mean that routine procedures, such as C-sections could become life-threatening.
Although AMR is a very real issue, there are still things we can do as parents and families to help slow things down such as:
Taking Antibiotics Correctly
Only ever take antibiotics when prescribed by a medical professional and make sure you follow the instructions – taking the full course and correct dosage as directed. Dispose of any excess medication correctly and as advised. Don’t be tempted to take antibiotics when they aren’t needed as they won’t help but could contribute to AMR.
Keep Vaccinations up to Date
You can help prevent infections by making sure that all family members are up to date with their vaccinations. This also includes any required boosters and is just as important for adult family members.
Handwashing can help prevent the spread of infection, but it is only effective if done correctly. Remind children when they should be washing their hands and take the time to show them how to do it correctly.
We really slow down AMR but only if we all act, so spread the word and #JoinTheFight.
Have you heard of Superbugs? Are you worried about the effect that AMR could have?
Date of prep: Nov 2019
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